Concussion Reminder – Dr. MomWritten By: Melissa
Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries caused by a direct blow to the head or a fall resulting in enough force to bang the brain against the skull. That is precisely what happens. The brain hits the skull and what you get is injury to the brain that can range from mild to severe.
Football players have the highest incidence of concussion; however, any contact sport (soccer, hockey, basketball, wrestling, etc.) puts children at risk for sustaining a concussion. All it takes is one jolt from a tackle, a wayward soccer ball to the head, or a hard fall to the ground for symptoms of a concussion to manifest in your child.
Contrary to popular belief, loss of consciousness is not the telltale sign of a concussion. In fact, most young athletes who do suffer from a concussion will not have been “knocked out”. More commonly what you will notice is headache, dizziness, blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, inability to recall events surrounding head injury, mood changes, and/or sleep disturbances. These symptoms may show up immediately following a head injury or may take several hours to a few days to make an appearance.
What is most important to know is that any player who suffers a significant head injury on the field or elsewhere must be evaluated by a doctor and receive medical clearance before returning back to play. I’m reminded of a young athlete I saw a few years ago who suffered a minor concussion while training for football. He, his mother, and his coach worked as a perfect team as they made sure he was cleared by me before resuming play.
The popular refrain, when in doubt, sit it out, holds ever so true. I would always err on the side of caution here. Players should be mandated to physical rest until symptoms completely resolve. This could be anywhere from one week to a few months. Sending a player back out on the field prematurely could lead to repeated concussions which ultimately could result in permanent damage to the brain.